To settle a complaint by the U.S. government that BMW North America didn’t promptly inform regulations about the potential safety defects, the automaker said that it will pay a fine of $3 million to make a settlement. Last Friday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that BMW agreed to the civil penalty that stemmed from the 16 recall investigations in 2010 that concluded that it committed several violations.
In a statement, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said that the agency requires all manufacturers to quickly resolve automotive safety issues using a direct approach.
U.S. law states that auto manufacturers have to notify NHTSA of any vehicle defects within five business days. The NHTSA said that BMW was unable to report problems in many motorcycle and vehicle models on numerous occasions. The NHTSA said that BMW North America and its parent, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, had entered a deal to address internal recall decision-making to make sure that any future problems would be reported to the U.S. government and consumers.
This fine is the first since Toyota Motor Corp. reached a deal in December 2010 to pay $32.4 million to settle two federal probes. In April 2010, Toyota had agreed to pay a $16.4 million fine to settle a similar probe. In total, Toyota paid $48.8 million to NHTSA for civil penalties in 2010. All of the three fines imposed against Toyota was the maximum permitted under federal law at the time that the alleged breaches were committed. These are far bigger than the safety penalties paid by any other automaker in the past years.